View-only accounts Apr 21, 2014, 10:39 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

A tool to get you the help you need, while you keep the control you want to be independent.

Are you looking for a tool that will allow someone else to help you manage your finances while you maintain control? Are you looking for a solution to help you help someone else manage their finances? Bank of American Fork can allow you to give view-only access to a helper—meaning they can watch for scams or fraud by others and double-check your transactions, without running the risks that joint access can bring.

Joint access can be risky for someone who needs help with their account. When a helper is added as a joint account owner, they are seen as an equal, regardless of who originally owned the account. One of the implications of having a helper that has joint access is that they can make payments or account changes without any approval from the original account owner. Another is that the account and the original owner are vulnerable to lawsuits or tax liability of the joint owner—the money, by law, is seen as theirs and can be seized.

Below are a few of the types of personal circumstances where you might benefit from an account with view-only access.

Persons in the armed forces: If you’re in the armed forces and you’re heading away for boot camp, training or deployment, you might be concerned about how to keep up with accounts you have already. Give someone at home view-only access and they’ll be able to watch for fraud or other account activity without having access to your money.

Missionaries: Do you have a son, daughter, parents or other relative on a mission? They may be unable to check their online banking or account statements as often, and having someone at home that can keep an eye may be helpful. If a parent or trusted friend has view-only access to the missionary’s account, they can watch for low funds or fraud when the missionary doesn’t have time or ability to check.

Senior parents or grandparents: Do you have parents or grandparents that need help managing their finances, or will need help in the future? Putting checks into place now can help your family later. Having view-only access will allow a helper to watch out for fraud or make sure bills are being paid on time without taking away control from parents or grandparents. Read more about how to help protect seniors from fraud here.

Persons who are home-bound or nursing home residents: Perhaps your schedule, abilities or lack of regular internet access make it difficult for you to monitor your account regularly for fraud or unusual activity. You may feel more comfortable if you have a second set of eyes watching out for you. View-only access is a good way to give someone else the ability to watch account activity while you maintain control.

People in long-term rehabilitation centers or long-term hospital care: If you have a family member who suffered an injury, accident or from something else that has caused them to be in long-term care, you’re probably looking for the safest way to help them with their finances. If they have automatic bill pay for their rent, utilities or other bills already set up, you may only need view-only access to make sure everything is running smoothly with their account. Or, if a trusted helper has already been given access to manage finances for the person in long-term care, you may want to consider giving a second helper view-only access to avoid any temptation or accusation of fraud.

Minors: Help your son or daughter learn the value of earning money, saving and smart spending by giving them some financial independence. With an account of their own, they can learn about making wise financial decisions. With some guidance, you can help. Having view-only access will give them some necessary accountability as they’re learning and allow you to help steer them in the right direction. Read more tips about teaching kids the value of money here and find out more about KidSmart Savings Accounts for kids up to 18 here.

Persons on extended vacations: If you’re heading off on a long trip, you may want to consider giving someone at home view-only access to your account to watch for fraud. Whether you’re sight-seeing in another country, hunting, hiking in a national park, exploring a part of the U.S. you haven’t been to, sailing on the coast or taking in scenes from a helicopter, you may be at risk of fraud (find some financial tips for traveling here). If you want to watch for fraudulent transactions or be sure all of your automatic payments go through and you know you won’t have regular internet access or phone service, set up a family member, trusted friend or advisor with view-only access and they can watch your account activity.

Those working overseas temporarily: Are you one of the lucky ones sent to open your company’s office in Beijing? Are you heading to Ecuador to teach English for a summer job? If you’re working overseas temporarily and you’re worried about remembering or being able to check your transactions regularly for fraud, give view-only access to someone at home to help you out. There may be new risks for fraud while you’re traveling (read financial tips for traveling here), and it’s important to keep up regular monitoring of your account.

College students: Perhaps your son or daughter is off at school, with your financial help. You may have an agreement to help pay for their housing and food, and while they need some independence so they can learn important budgeting skills, they may also need some guidance. Having view-only access will give your child the independence and control they need to grow, and also allow you to track their expenditures so you can send the right amount for groceries, at the right time.

During tax season or for accounting purposes: Giving your accountant view-only access may help speed up tax preparation or other accounting and help you go green, since you won’t have to print out months or years of statements.

View-only access is a safe and convenient tool to allow someone else to help you manage their finances while you maintain control. Bank of American Fork can allow you to give view-only access to a helper, so talk to your banker or call 800-815-BANK to find out if this solution might be helpful to you.

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